Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to Donald Trump has made her an icon of the Resistance, featured in viral memes clapping sardonically at the president or ripping up his State of the Union address. But the real Nancy Pelosi is neither the shrill partisan featured in thousands of attack ads nor the cautious corporatist reviled by the far left. She’s the rare politician who still knows how to get big things done–a master of legislative power whose policy accomplishments have touched millions of American lives, from providing universal access to health care to reforming Wall Street to allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. She’s done it all at a time of historic polarization and gridlock, despite being routinely underestimated by allies and opponents alike.
Ball’s nuanced, page-turning portrait takes readers inside Pelosi’s life and times, from her roots in urban Baltimore to her formative years as a party activist and fundraiser, from the fractious politics of San Francisco to high-stakes congressional negotiations with multiple presidents. The result is a compelling portrait of a barrier-breaking woman that sheds new light on American political history. Based on exclusive interviews with the Speaker and deep background reporting, Ball shows Pelosi through a thoroughly modern lens to explain how this extraordinary woman has met her moment.